Not to be confused with the Lost Ark of the Covenant, which many would recognize from Indiana Jones fame, the lost Noah’s Ark has been discovered and lost repeatedly ever since the legend first was told. Many different descriptions exist of the vast vessel said to contain two of every creature on Earth as the story goes, but not all the discovered ships have been in the right location or bore the right physical description to the Old Testament vessel.
The story goes that the mountains of Ararat were the location that the Ark came to rest on when the waters receded after a great flood came to destroy the Earth and all the people on it aside from Noah and his ship of animals. Modern interpretations of this story often abandon the idea of a literal ark where all animals are kept only to breed once again after they are taken back to land, and the ship is largely thought to be symbolic. Of course as with any symbol there are also several varying interpretations.
Still, several scholars and adventurers have come to believe that the mountains of Ararat are not actually the location of the long since abandoned seafaring vessel, and that there is a ship to be discovered. Not only that, but Noah’s Ark has indeed been discovered several times in several locations, many of which were on the Ararat mountains themselves. But is there more to this legend than just symbols?
It’s interesting to note that there are flood or deluge legends in several myths from around the world. In ancient Babylon, the legend of the deluge had verbatim similarities to the Babylon story, including different themes and symbols in the story including the releasing of a dove in an attempt to discover land nearby, and the dove bringing back an olive branch. The legend of Gilgamesh shares several different key facts with the legend of Noah’s Ark.
There are also stories in ancient Egypt where the waters from the Nile River rose and took over the land and only a select few people were saved along with the animals from the land. This story and others all seem to share a strange similarity between them.
And it’s not just the flood legends that share themes from civilization to civilization. There are in fact several different factors that seem similar from one civilization to another. This is no surprise really to many scholars and historians who study a field known as comparative mythology. Comparative mythology not only has similarities in the legend of Noah’s Ark (and other Deluge myths) but also shows a marked similarity between several other legends as well including the death of Dionysus in Greek mythology, the Axis Mundi (which establishes a link between different higher and lower realms of being), and others.
So will Noah’s Ark ever truly be found somewhere in the Ararat mountain range? If history is any judge, the ship will be found several times over the course of history, but if it will ever be necessarily proven, that has yet to be seen.